400 University of Minnesota Teamsters march for raises and respect
Minneapolis, MN – About 400 Teamsters and their supporters rallied at the University of Minnesota administration building, Morrill Hall, on the afternoon of Nov. 17, to demand a decent contract. Members of Teamsters Local 320 overwhelmingly passed a strike authorization vote Nov. 2, and today’s protest was billed as a “pre-strike informational picket.”
Mick Kelly, a member of the Teamster 320 negotiating committee led the crowd in chanting, “What do want? Raises and respect. When do we what it? Now.” Kelly also stated, “We need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to get the kind of contract we need.”
After the rally at the administration building, workers marched on the Donhowe Building, which houses the university labor relations officials.
The U of M is proposing Teamsters accept a three-year contract that includes a paltry increase in the first year, and no wage increases for the second and third years.
The rally drew support for a number of other labor organizations, including the campus clerical union AFSCME Local 3800, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the Minnesota Regional Labor Federation.
Members of Students for a Democratic Society held a large banner reading, “Students and workers united in struggle.”
Local 320 Teamsters held an action the previous day, Nov. 16 on the Crookston, Minnesota campus to press the demand for a fair contract.